Joel Christopher Herrick

Joel Christopher Herrick

Charged with child pornography 

Conway teen charged with child pornography

A Conway teen has been charged with five counts connected to the sexual exploitation of a minor.

Joel C. Herrick, 19, was taken in by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force investigators with the Horry County Sheriff's Office, according to the S.C. Attorney General’s Office. Investigators with the Attorney General's Office, also a member of the state's ICAC Task Force, assisted with the investigation.

He was released on bond about three hours later.

 Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that led them to Herrick. Investigators say Herrick distributed and possessed files of child pornography.

 Herrick is charged with four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, second degree, a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison on each count; and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, third degree, a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

This case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

Suspicious fires

■ Horry County Fire Rescue was called to a suspicious fire on Pee Dee Highway Sunday at about 9:30 p.m. where an abandoned mobile home was burning, according to an Horry County police report.

Firefighters put the fire out, but the mobile home was a total loss. The fire had already spread into the woods around the house when firefighters arrived.

The home had been abandoned and unoccupied for several years. There was no electricity connected to the home. The Horry County police report says when the first fire units got to the scene, a white car pulled away from the location, but they didn’t know if the occupants of the car were the ones who called 911.

■ The next morning at about 2 a.m. firefighters were called to a boarded-up house on Raspberry Lane that was fully ablaze, according to an Horry County police report.

The fire was extinguished, but the house was a total loss.

Firefighters didn’t know the origin of the blaze when the police report was filed. There was no electricity connected to the residence.

Fighting at the river

Horry County police were called to Waccamaw Drive in the Conway section at about 9 p.m. Friday to check on a report of assault and trespassing, according to Horry County police report.

A complainant told police that two boys got into a fight over a girl on the property. One of the boys told police he and some friends were riding on the river when they got a text message that the other boy was at the dock, and he wanted to kill someone. He said the angry boy called him saying he was going to kill someone and he was going to take the girl with him. When they got back to the house the boy was there and coming onto the property. The first boy said he repeatedly asked the angry boy to leave. They got into a verbal argument and then began to fight.

The first boy said the angry boy then got up, went to his truck and drove off.

The policeman made contact with the reportedly angry boy to get his side of the story and he told him that he was on his way for medical treatment. The policeman then went to the medical facility where he talked with the angry boy, who said his ex-girlfriend posted on social media that she was on the river with another guy. He became upset and wanted to confront them so he went to the boat landing looking for them, but they weren’t there so he went to the boy’s residence. He said he got out of the truck and went to the other boy saying he wanted to talk with the girl, but the boy punched him and they began to fight. After the fight he went back to his truck and left.

Neither boy wanted to press charges, so the case was closed.

Pictures were taken of one of the boy’s bloody nose, along with scratches and redness on his feet, knees and hand. He was x-rayed, but nothing was broken, according to the police report.

Shooting at a cyclist

A man riding his bicycle in the area of Carriage Road in the Conway section told police that as he was riding his bicycle someone fired shots at him, according to an Horry County police report.

When police arrived at the scene, the man was dragging his bicycle out of the road. Police say he appeared to be uninjured with only some minor abrasions on his knees.

However, the man had not been injured by the gunfire. He told police the suspect was driving a red or burgundy pickup with two men inside, but he didn’t know either of them. He said he was riding to the Turkey Ridge community when the truck passed him on Carriage Road coming from Dongola Highway toward Pauley Swamp Road. After the vehicle passed, it turned around in a nearby driveway, then proceeded to come up behind the cyclist. He said the truck passed by him slowly before the driver leaned out of the window with a gun. He said he heard seven shots. When the first shot was fired, he jumped off of his bicycle and ran toward the woods on the opposite side of the road. He said he heard one of the shots hit something and thought his bicycle had been hit. After the last shot was fired, he said the vehicle left headed toward Dongola Highway. After the truck left the area he came out of the woods, went to the residence where he had been headed and asked to use the phone.

The report says the bicyclist told police he didn’t know of anyone who might have a problem with him.

Police say they found a bullet that appeared as if it had hit the bicycle after the bike had fallen to the ground or as it was falling when the rider was jumping off.

The policeman took the bicyclist to a residence in the Turkey Ridge community where he planned to call someone to pick him up rather than ride his bicycle back home.

Police checked for evidence, but didn’t find anything.

The report says there is a surveillance camera at the residence, but residents told police their dog had knocked it out of position and it was pointing down at the time of the incident.

Armed robbery

Conway police went to a U.S. 544 residence at about 6:30 p.m. on a recent evening after receiving a report of an armed robbery.

After speaking with the victims and a witness, police decided that there had been an armed robbery. A detective was called to investigate.

The victims are listed as a Myrtle Beach teenage boy and a Myrtle Beach teenage girl.

Vehicle crimes

■ Horry County police reported that over the weekend there were at least three handguns stolen from cars parked in the Riverside Drive area in the Conway section.

The first person to report the theft told police that he can identify the suspect because he has video footage of his house and neighbors also said they were familiar with the juvenile, who has no known address.

Later that day, the victim provided the policeman with a thumb-drive of the video, and a neighbor, who works for Myrtle Beach police took fingerprints from a fence the suspect tried to scale.

In a second report the next day, an Horry County policeman reported that a suspect broke a woman’s locked glove box to take a second gun. The report says there were two other reports of handguns stolen from vehicles. The police report says neighbors saw a suspect wearing all black walking through the area at 5:35 a.m.

■ A Conway man told Horry County police that someone took his car from his dad’s house while he went to a friend’s house over a recent night, leaving the keys in the car. He told police he had never had problems in that area of Stackhouse Drive before. He said the car was gone when he returned at about 7 a.m. the next morning. He said the white Crown Victoria had damage to the front from a tree branch.

■ A Conway woman told police that while her vehicle was parked for about two hours at Skip’s on Highway 319, someone took it.

She said when she went back to her car, she found glass on the ground near where her car was parked. The Horry County police report says on a previous call someone reported a suspicious vehicle around Gunters Island Road and Pee Dee Road South. The policeman says he found the vehicle with the S.C. Highway Patrol already on the scene working it as a collision.

■ A Murrells Inlet man, driving a Craig’s Plumbing work truck, told police that someone took the license tag off of his work truck, but he didn’t realize it was gone until Myrtle Beach police called to tell him it had been used in some crimes in the City of Myrtle Beach. He said when he went to look at his truck, there was a tag on it. When he told Myrtle Beach police about that tag, they told him it was reported stolen out of Horry County.

The victim didn’t know when the tags might have been switched.

■ An Horry County policeman stopped an Aynor man after he noticed that he was driving a car that had been listed as stolen from Waccamaw Drive and U.S. 501 in Conway. The policeman called a Conway officer who took the case to Conway Municipal Court.

Judge Jane Mackey issued a warrant for possession of a stolen vehicle, value $2,000-$10,000. The driver was taken to jail.

■ A resident of Monarch Apartments went to her vehicle Saturday at about noon where she found her car door open with the contents having been gone through. Her wallet holding multiple gift cards, amounting to about $200, and $10 in cash were missing.

■ A resident of Elm Street noticed Saturday at about 2:30 p.m. that the light was on in his vehicle. When he checked he found that his passenger door was not completely shut and some of his things were lying on the floorboard and his camera lens was missing from the passenger seat. The Conway police report estimates his loss as about $2,000.

■ A Tabor City, N.C., woman told Horry County police that her car broke down as she was traveling home from a friend’s house at about 1:15 a.m. Saturday morning.

She left the vehicle beside Morgan Road, but when she went back to get it at just before 10 a.m. she found that someone had vandalized it, according to an Horry County police report.

The hood was bashed in as were the side doors, windshield, passenger windows, rear window, headlights and driver’s side window.

Virus rules kick in

When an Horry County policeman pulled up into a residence in the Loris section to check on a family disturbance, a suspect came from behind the garage and walked to the cop’s car. He told police he had been assaulted/punched in the back of the head twice. They yelled at one another and were separated before the officer arrived.

The suspect told police that he and his mother had bought the house several months earlier and six days earlier his mother kicked him out and he had nowhere to go and no one to help him.

The mom told police that the man broke into the garage area and police were called to have the man evicted. However, due to the coronavirus officers were told they couldn’t evict him. The mom went to the Magistrate’s Office to try to get him evicted, but was told they weren’t doing any evictions until sometime in May.

The next night, the suspect called officers again saying someone at the house would not allow him inside.

Officer advised him that he had to stay in the outbuilding. Then on Saturday he began yelling at a woman, getting in her face. Someone got between the two of them and when the suspect tried to push through him to get to someone else, someone shoved him, causing him to fall onto the driveway. Medics said there were no marks consistent with having been punched, but he did have an abrasion on his left middle knuckle and right elbow. He refused treatment. Police ran the suspect’s information and found he had warrants out of Pennsylvania for in-state pickup only. He also had a warrant from the Horry Count Sheriff’s Office for larceny. He was taken to jail and trespassed from the residence because there has been an ongoing issue between him and his ex-wife.

Weapons and drugs

Horry County police spotted a vehicle matching the description of one that they had been asked to look out for earlier that morning.

The vehicle was a red Dodge Ram pickup with an out-of-state license plate. Someone had reported earlier that the vehicle was involved in a pointing and presenting of a firearm incident in Myrtle Beach.

The policeman stopped the vehicle in the Speedway gas station on U.S. 501 East. The policeman says he smelled the odor of marijuana and the driver told him he had smoked a blunt. The man denied pointing a gun at anyone.

Police removed a dog from the vehicle and put it in an Aynor police cruiser, according to the Horry County police report.

During the search, police found two rifles and a handgun.

They were all loaded.

The report says there were several trash bags holding assorted clothes, shoes and personal items in the vehicle. There was also a large flat screen television inside the vehicle as well as a mattress and box springs. The police report says the vehicle looked as if it was packed in a hurry.

The driver told police he was headed to West Virginia, where he lived before he moved to this area, to flee the coronavirus.

The 19-year-old was charged with pointing and presenting a firearm at a person, simple possession of marijuana, unlawful carry of a firearm, first-degree assault and battery and possession of paraphernalia. He was released from jail two days later on a $27,000 bond.

They’ve got a gun

A Green Sea area woman called Horry County 911, told the operator she needed police at her home and hung up, according to an Horry County police report.

The woman called back and told the operator that there were women outside of her residence who had a gun and were trying to fight her.

When police arrived, the woman said the people who were causing her distress had just left in a silver car. The policeman went to look for a silver car he had seen as he was arriving, but didn’t find it.

When he got back to the residence, the caller’s brother came by saying he saw the women in the yard. He told his sister to call 911 to make sure there was no trouble. She told police the incident began with a Facebook post the night before when she posted a picture of her hair. She said one woman made a comment and then a second person started making comments. The woman said she didn’t say anything that night, but the next morning she got on Facebook and began defending herself and then others started to chime in as well.

The victim said her brother made her stay inside, but she wanted to assault the women and said the incident wasn’t over.

The policeman warned the woman not to do anything that would get her into trouble, and she agreed because she had children to look after.

The policeman tried to find the suspects at a place where the victim thought they lived, according to the police report.

When he did not find them there, he tried to identify them through the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, but was unable to get a match with the names he was given.

The policeman said he intended to keep trying to contact the suspects to get their comments about the incidents.

Shooting ruled accidental

A Conway woman called police after, she said, a man’s gun fired as he was putting it into his backpack. The report says the slide was pulled back, but the slide release was missing a pin and that could have caused the rifle to fire.

When the gun misfired, a round hit the floor causing the woman to be hit by shrapnel, according to the Horry County police report.

Horry County emergency medical workers treated the woman for a laceration on her right shoulder. To make sure she didn’t need more treatment, they were taking her to be checked.

Police then ruled that the shooting was accidental, saying they intended to cease the investigation unless more information became available.

Conway area burglary

A Conway area man told Horry County police he left his residence in the area of U.S 701 south between 10 a.m. and noon one day this past week, according to an Horry County police report. When he returned he saw that someone had gotten in by breaking a rear window and had gotten away with about $1,070 worth of things including a Hydrastar pressure washer, garden shears, pump sprayer and $20 in one-dollar bills.

The Horry County police report says multiple guns throughout the house were not bothered and that included a gun cabinet near the broken window.

A Rossi Ranch hand rifle shotgun combo was taken from a walk-in closet.

The victim told police he had an idea who had taken his things because the person he suspected knew where things were inside the house.

While the policeman was at the residence, a mother called saying she didn’t know where her daughter was and that she was back on drugs.

She said her daughter had taken a car for maintenance. The policeman looked unsuccessfully for the vehicle.

On the road again

Someone called Horry County police to report a Conway man in the road near the Homewood Depot at the intersection of Highway 65 and U.S. 701 North, according to an Horry County police report.

The policeman says he found the man in the road near Long Road. The policeman reported that he had warned the man about being a pedestrian in the road about one hour earlier and had already charged him multiple times with the same offense on multiple occasions.

He charged him with being pedestrian in the roadway and took him to jail.

He’s in the house

A Loris area man told Horry County police he was inside his house playing on his gaming system at about 11 a.m. one morning this past week when he heard a noise inside the house, according to an Horry County police report.

He said he removed his headphones and went to investigate. That’s when he saw that someone had kicked in the front door and was walking through the living room toward the kitchen carrying a black plastic bag.

He said the man ran when he saw him.

The victim described the man as about 5-feet, 10-inches and very thin. He said the man was wearing all black with something covering his face.

Sexual assault

The parents of a 4-year-old told police that sometime over a two-day period someone had assaulted their daughter

Horry County police were given the name of a suspect. They immediately called the Crime Investigation Division.

These boots weren’t made for walking

Conway police were called at about 2 p.m. one day this past week to the Shoe Show at Bay Village where they found a female customer arguing with a teenage employee, according to a Conway police report.

Witnesses told police the woman went into the store asking to exchange a pair of boots. When an employee began to figure out how to compensate the woman for the return she called her boss for help because the customer didn’t have a receipt and she couldn’t find a stock number in their system, according to the police report.

The employee told the woman she was unable to give her the amount of money she wanted, but she tried to give her $38 because she didn’t know how much the shoes were worth. At that point the woman became “very hostile” and was asked to leave.

The woman then selected two pairs of shoes while being loud and acting out before leaving the store without paying for the shoes.

An employee then ran outside hoping to get a license plate number from the woman’s vehicle. At the same time, a second employee called police.

The woman then came back inside the store through a back door and said, “I know they ran around the building. I will hit them with my car.”

Then she headed toward the front of the store.

The police report said all of the employees ran to the front, except the employee who knew the woman was annoyed with her for writing down her license number.

A few minutes later the teen came around the corner from the back. When the suspect saw her, she got in her face and threatened to “whoop” her.

The suspect then opened the door saying she was leaving and didn’t care about her money anymore.

The policeman told her she couldn’t leave, but she said she was going anyway.

The policeman told her again that she was not allowed to leave. When she turned around the policeman detained her and put her in his patrol vehicle.

That’s when the woman requested treatment from emergency medical workers.

After the medics cleared the woman, the policeman took her to jail.

Before they left, the police report says the woman paid for the two additional pairs of shoes so she wasn’t charged with shoplifting.

She was charged with disorderly conduct and third-degree assault and battery.

Alcohol/drug incidents

■ Conway police got a call at about 2 p.m. one afternoon this past week about a woman staggering and appearing to be intoxicated on Main Street near South State Bank.

The policeman says when he approached the woman he smelled alcohol. She had bloodshot eyes and was slurring her speech. The Conway police report says the woman admitted to having a drink of wine in her car earlier.

Because she was having trouble standing on her own, the woman was charged with public drunkenness and taken to jail.

No payment here

A driver for Diamond Cab in Surfside Beach called Conway police after he delivered two, about 20-year-old girls, to Collins Park.

The driver said the girls got out of the vehicle and ran toward Main Street without paying for their $58.85 trip.

The Myrtle Beach cab driver told police he had the phone number used to call for the taxi, but no more information about the girls.

An officer was able to identify a name associated with the phone number.

Police looked for the girls, but didn’t find them.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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